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Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Vatican Declaration on Some Questions in Sexual Ethics One of the Vatican's arguments against premarital sex: 

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Vatican Declaration on Some Questions in Sexual Ethics One of the Vatican's arguments against premarital sex: "— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Vatican Declaration on Some Questions in Sexual Ethics One of the Vatican's arguments against premarital sex:  1. Nonmarital sex cannot “guarantee” the sincerity and fidelity of the relationship, nor protect it against changes in desire.  2. Marriage can guarantee these things.  3. Sex is permissible only if it takes place in a context where commitment is guaranteed.  Thus,  4. Sex outside of marriage (including premarital sex) is not permissible (that is, morally wrong).

2 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Vatican Declaration on Some Questions in Sexual Ethics Vatican's main argument against homosexuality  1. Sexual activity that violates the proper function of the sex organs is wrong.  2. Homosexual activity violates the proper function of the sex organs.  Thus,  3. Homosexual activity is wrong.

3 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Vatican Declaration on Some Questions in Sexual Ethics The Vatican also argues against the morality of masturbation, in much the same way it argues against homosexual activity. Notice the reliance on the idea that the sexual organs have a proper function, and thus, sexual activity does as well. Do they have such a function? If they do, does the Vatican correctly identify that function?

4 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage John Corvino, “Why Shouldn't Tommy and Jim Have Sex?” In this article, Corvino attempts to refute two kinds of arguments against homosexuality: those that appeal to its being unnatural, and those that appeal to its being harmful. To do this, he reformulates the unnaturalness argument in five ways and objects to each reformulation.

5 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage John Corvino, “Why Shouldn't Tommy and Jim Have Sex?” The five discussed meanings of “unnatural”:  1. Unnatural = unusual or abnormal  2. Unnatural = not practiced by other animals  3. Unnatural = does not proceed in accordance with innate desires  4. Unnatural = violates an organ's principal purpose  5. Unnatural = disgusting or offensive How does Corvino respond to the corresponding five arguments? Do his responses succeed?

6 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage John Corvino, “Why Shouldn't Tommy and Jim Have Sex?” Corvino also responds to harm-based arguments against homosexuality.  One version of this argument claims that homosexual activity harms the person who performs that activity.  Another version claims that homosexual activity harms other, non-consenting parties.  The final version Corvino mentions claims that homosexuality harms society. How does Corvino respond to these arguments? Do his responses succeed?

7 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Thomas A. Mappes, “Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person” Mappes' article is an application of Kant's Humanity Formulation of the Categorical Imperative to the question of when it is wrong to sexually interact with another person. The Humanity Formulation of the Categorical Imperative:  “It is morally wrong for A to use B merely as a means to achieve A's ends.”

8 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Thomas A. Mappes, “Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person” Mappes' main principle of sexual morality:  “A sexually uses B if and only if A intentionally acts in a way that violates the requirement that B's sexual involvement with A be based on B's voluntary informed consent.” Deception (either through lying or withholding information) violates the “informed” aspect of this requirement. Coercion (either through physical force or threats) violates the “voluntary” aspect of this requirement.

9 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Thomas A. Mappes, “Sexual Morality and the Concept of Using Another Person” A third way to violate the requirement: exploitation.  Offers are proposals to reward an individual for compliance; they do not propose punishment for noncompliance. When the reward is something the individual desperately needs, then the offer is coercive. Exploitation is taking advantage of an individual's desperate situation.  Offers differ from threats, since threats do propose punishment for noncompliance, and they do not propose any reward for compliance.

10 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Raja Halwani, “Virtue Ethics and Adultery” Halwani applies a version of virtue ethics to reach his conclusion that adultery is often—but not always—wrong. Halwani's main argument, then, appeals to the following principle of virtue ethics:  An action is wrong if and only if (and because) it is what a virtuous agent would not do. After providing some reasons to accept this argument, Halwani then tries to explain adultery is, generally speaking, not something a virtuous agent would do.

11 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Raja Halwani, “Virtue Ethics and Adultery” One way to understand Halwani's central argument:  1. Love and exclusive commitment are constituents of a marriage.  2. Given the connection between love, commitment, and sex, sexual fidelity is an ideal in marriage.  3. If fidelity is an ideal in marriage, a virtuous person would strive to realize it and would avoid engaging in activities that are contrary to this ideal.  4. An action is wrong if and only if (and because) it is what a virtuous agent would not do.  Thus,  5. Adultery is wrong.

12 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Raja Halwani, “Virtue Ethics and Adultery” A few details about Halwani's view:  Halwani accepts that there are possible cases where adultery is not wrong. This makes Halwani's conclusion non-absolutist.  This is because while fidelity is an ideal, according to Halwani, there could be cases where the virtuous agent would decide that there is sufficient reason to not seek this ideal.  Halwani also claims that his argument applies not just to marriages, but to committed romantic relationships generally.

13 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Maggie Gallagher, “Normal Marriage: Two Views” The two views of what normal marriage is, according to Gallagher:  1. The relationship view: Marriage is an essentially private relationship whose fundamental aim is to enhance the personal well-being of the married partners.  2. The public view: Marriage is a public bond and sexual institution between members of the opposite sex; it is fundamentally about reproduction and the continuation of society.

14 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Maggie Gallagher, “Normal Marriage: Two Views” Gallagher provides several considerations against the relationship view:  1. It erodes the idea that there is a special connection between a child and his/her biological parents that explains the parents' obligations to their child.  2. It cannot make sense of the state's traditional regulation of marriage.  3. Legalizing same-sex marriage on the basis of the relationship view would have bad consequences for society.

15 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Maggie Gallagher, “Normal Marriage: Two Views” Gallagher provides several considerations for the public view:  1. Adopting this view is necessary for the survival of society.  2. Adopting this view would have good consequences for children, who need to be raised by married opposite-sex couples to thrive.  3. Even if the law reflects this view (and it should) by not allowing same-sex marriage, same-sex couples could still enjoy many of the legal benefits that married couples do.

16 Chapter 3: Sexual Morality and Marriage Evan Wolfson, “Enough Marriage to Share” – Wolfson replies directly to Gallagher. – He quotes several legal and scientific sources to express his view that: 1. There is no reason to believe that same-sex couples are generally not as capable of successfully raising children as opposite-sex couples. 2. Denying same-sex marriage has no benefits but many costs (especially to same-sex couples and children of these couples). 3. Marriage is not necessarily about procreation. 4. There is little or no reason to think that legalizing same- sex marriage would have serious negative consequences.


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